Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Work on King Bridge May Yet Take a Turn

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Work on King Bridge May Yet Take a Turn

Article excerpt

This summer, highway workers will begin rebuilding the concrete tangle of streets where the Martin Luther King Bridge meets Interstate 70.

The project may take two years and cost taxpayers $14 million.

Or it may take three years and cost taxpayers more than $15 million.

Either way, the work could become a big part of your life if you ever cross the bridge or visit the riverfront.

Here's what's happening:

State highway engineers have been planning for a decade to improve the connection between the bridge and the interstate.

The improvements, engineers say, eventually will make the trip across the King Bridge more pleasant. And that will draw more cars to the King, helping lighten the load on the Poplar Street Bridge.

Along the way, workers also will improve other streets in the area, reroute traffic from I-70's ramps and straighten some crossings under the interstate.

Under the state's plan, Cole Street traffic headed to the riverfront would be routed to Biddle Street, two blocks to the north. The main artery to Laclede's Landing for pedestrians leaving the convention center or stadium would be Convention Center Plaza, designers say.

The state's plan would cost $14 million and take 1 1/2 or two years, said Barry Bergman, a design engineer for the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department.

Larry Bushong and other city officials have other ideas.

Bushong, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corp., says the state's plan would make it harder for pedestrians to get to Laclede's Landing, to gambling boats and to other riverfront attractions.

"As currently designed, pedestrian traffic from Cole Street to the landing is virtually impossible," Bushong said last week. He wants to maintain a crossing there for pedestrians.

In addition, Bushong said, the state's plan to reroute Cole traffic two blocks to the north would cause traffic problems.

The city suggests changing the state's plan by straightening the link between Cole and Carr streets. That would create a direct connection for drivers and walkers between the stadium and the riverfront, Bushong said. …

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